The DOS' Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charlie Oppenheim, recently shared extensive information on the future availability of immigrant visas (green cards). The DOS is the government agency that controls and tracks the annual quotas on the issuance of green cards. Each month the DOS issues the Visa Bulletin which outlines the availability of green cards for that month. A summary of Mr. Oppenheim's comments is listed below:
- EB-2 India – Mr. Oppenheim predicts that this category will retrogress as early as November 2014. This is due to the increased demand for green cards in this category as Indian nationals upgrade their EB-3 petitions to EB-2. As of October 2014, the category is set at May 1, 2009. Currently, there are no more green cards available in the EB-2 India category for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014. Although technically the category is "unavailable" the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can continue to accept Forms I-485, Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status for individuals with priority dates prior to May 1, 2009. These Forms I-485 will be held until additional green cards become available on October 1, 2014 with the start of the new fiscal year.
- EB-5 China - As noted in our August 28th Update, similarly to the EB-2 India category, the EB-5 China category is also currently "unavailable." What is notable is that this is the first time that the annual cap of 10,000 has been met in the 24 years that the category was created. The DOS has indicated that the USCIS will continue to accept and process Forms I-485 holding them until October 1, 2014 with the start of the new fiscal year. Mr. Oppenheim also stressed the potential need to cut-off the EB-5 China category during the FY2015 as early as May 2015 due to the continued increase in demand.
- Philippines - The demand for the employment based categories for Philippines continues to decrease. Currently, the EB-3 and "Other Worker" categories have priority dates of October 1, 2011. The DOS is trying to spur demand in this category, but has been unsuccessful. Mr. Oppenheim predicts that this category will continue to advance until there is more demand, but it may have to be cut-off if demand increases.